retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal has a story about how FedEx, United Parcel Service (UPS) and the US Postal Service (USPS) "confront a problem they haven’t faced in years: how to deliver millions more orders in six fewer days" because of a shortened post-Thanksgiving shopping season, at the same time as "online shopping is expected to be bigger than ever."

The story notes that "the last time the industry dealt with such a narrow window between the holidays was 2013, when U.S. e-commerce spending was roughly half as big as it is today, according to Commerce Department data."

While history does not suggest that all of these delivery companies will be able to meet all the challenges facing them, the Journal says that all of them point to infrastructural improvements that should help them deal with the heightened load.
KC's View:
A critical component in this analysis is the fact that it is not just the delivery companies on the hook - while the delivery companies obviously will play an important role in whether or not stuff ordered by e-customers get to them online, those shoppers likely are not going to blame FedEx, UPS or the Post Office for presents not delivered.

They're gonna blame the retailers. Amazon. Walmart. Target. And any other retailer that, for whatever reason, is not able to deliver on promises made.

Which means that these retailers are going to have to be vigilant.

It also means, I think, that retailers far more dependent on the effectiveness of the in-store experience need to be equally vigilant about making sure that their stores are compelling, experiential, differentiated, relevant and resonant. If there is a likelihood that there are going to be breakdowns in the e-commerce system, then competitors need to be positioning themselves as not just a viable alternative, but as a superior one.

Grab your moments when you can. They may not come often.